Open a book this minute and start reading. Don’t move until you’ve reached page fifty. Until you’ve buried your thoughts in print. Cover yourself with words. Wash yourself away. Dissolve. Carol Shields Republic of Love

Joining the 2010 Reading Challenge

What struck me about this challenge is connected with a question that an acquaintance asked me the other day: where do I find the books that I read. It’s the kind of question that reminds me just how innate reading feels to me, whilst it’s unfamiliar territory for a lot of people, even a lot of people who enjoy reading.

I stumbled a bit in my mind, and then said that I do read some magazines and newspapers, but that most of the recommendations I get are from friends. Well I could tell that, immediately, the idea of magazines and newspapers about books wasn’t going to help him at all, and although his interest seemed to perk up a bit at the mention of friends, he soon looked hopeless again.

And, I suppose it is a little mysterious, where we find our books. So I appreciate the way that the 2010 Challenge seems to draw attention to some of these different sources. Did you buy it new? Did you buy it from a charity shop? Because a ‘net friend suggested it and something they said about it tipped the scales in its favour? Because you’d never heard anything about it at all but found something about it irresistible? Did you pick it up because it was for another reading challenge, or has it just been on your shelves so long that you can barely remember acquiring it? Has it just been published or was it published before you were born?

I’d like to try to fill the challenge’s requirements using books that aren’t already going towards another challenge; but my opinion on that might change as the reading months pass, for though I’ve been reading quite ferociously, the summer months will see that pace slow. What I must commit to now, however, as per the Challenge’s Rules, is my Up To You Requirement.

Another source of reading material for me is public readings and workshops. Sometimes I attend because I already admire the author, other times I attend because I am unsure but curious and it’s convenient; I attended one of Sherman Alexie’s readings for the latter reason.

Sherman Alexie was reading at a shop I frequented, one within walking distance, and I had read some short stories and admired them; I didn’t attend because I was a committed fan but, after the reading, I left as a committed fan. And, yet, although I have purchased more of his works since, I haven’t yet read any of them. So my Up to You category is Books by Authors You’ve Seen At an Event, and I plan to choose two of Sherman Alexie‘s books to gladly fill that requirement. At last.

Are you tempted to play along? Are you already considering what you would choose for the “Up to You” category?

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